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Panasonic VDR-D300

DVD camcorder

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  • Panasonic VDR-D300

    Front

  • Panasonic VDR-D300

    Front with LCD closed

Item #: 133VDRD300
 
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Our take on the Panasonic VDR-D300

by Tara W.
Panasonic

Shoot videos for posterity — or posting online

From birthday parties to YouTube™ antics, camcorders let you capture moments you can share with friends and family, or the world at large. Most newer camcorders save your videos to built-in digital memory or a removable memory card. Some models come with a built-in hard disk drive that gives you much more storage. For maximum portability, check out our smaller cams that fit into a pocket or purse. For high-def videos that look awesome on your HDTV, go for a slightly larger model with a better lens and image sensor.

Panasonic's VDR-D300 combines advanced image processing with the convenience of DVD recording. This cam shoots clear, colorful video to mini DVD discs, which you can play on just about any DVD player or computer DVD drive. Record your child's birthday party or a family gathering, and then easily review the festivities at the end of the day.

3 image sensors for vivid, lifelike video
Unlike most camcorders that use a single image sensor, this Panasonic uses three — one for each primary red, green, and blue video color. The result is movies that glow with the saturated colors of a blazing orange and gold sunset or a cloudless, deep blue sky. And this cam's sophisticated 10X Leica optical zoom lens ensures sharp, detailed images, whether your subject is nearby or far away.

Helpful extras
The VDR-D300 sports other conveniences, too. Advanced optical image stabilization reduces camera shake, keeping your footage looking smooth and steady. A 16:9 wide mode lets you capture big, cinematic shots that fill up the screen on a widescreen TV. The built-in zoom mic is a nice touch — it automatically pinpoints the sound of your distant subject as you zoom in visually, for clear, distraction-free audio.

Convenient controls
And you also get user-friendly operation. The thumb-operated joystick controller lets you quickly navigate through all of the cam's basic functions using just one hand. You'll enjoy trouble-free, fully automatic shooting. And for greater creative control, the 'D300 also includes a manual mode that allows you to adjust shutter speed, aperture, and focus.

Capture detailed digital photos
When you'd rather record digital photos, just switch to photo mode and snap away. Special Panasonic imaging technology gives you crisp, detailed stills. Save your pictures to optional SD™ memory cards and transfer them to your computer using the VDR-D300's high-speed USB interface. PictBridge capability means you can connect this camcorder directly to a compatible photo printer for printing your photos without a computer.

See more info on this item

Highlights:

  • records high-quality DVD-Video
  • records to mini DVD-R, DVD-RW, and DVD-RAM discs
  • approximate recording capacity of a single-sided disc: 18 minutes in High Quality mode; 37 minutes in Normal mode; 75 minutes in Long Play mode
  • 3 separate CCD sensors for red, green, and blue
    • effective pixels per sensor for video: 640,000 in 4:3 mode, 540,000 in 16:9 mode
    • effective pixels per sensor for photos: 710,000 in 4:3 mode, 540,000 in 16:9 mode
  • variable-speed 10X Leica® Dicomar® optical zoom lens (digital zoom to 700X)
  • 2-11/16" widescreen LCD
  • four-way joystick controller for easier camcorder operation
  • widescreen 16:9 recording mode
  • digital photo mode
  • 3.1-megapixel photo capture with Quad-Density Pixel Distribution
  • top JPEG photo resolution: 2048 x 1512 in 4:3 mode, 1920 x 1080 in 16:9 mode
  • slot for optional SD™ memory card
  • Mega Optical Image Stabilizer
  • built-in video light
  • auto and manual focus
  • white balance settings
  • 5 Program AE (Auto Exposure) settings: Sports, Portrait, Low Light, Spotlight, and Surf & Snow
  • high-speed USB interface
  • audio/video output (composite and S-video)
  • 2-1/2"W x 3-7/16"H x 5-7/16"D
  • weight: 20.6 oz (without battery or disc)
  • warranty: 1 year parts, 90 days labor (6 months parts for CCD)
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
Supplied Accessories:
  • AC adapter/charger
  • rechargeable battery
  • audio/video cable
  • USB cable
  • shoulder strap
  • software CD-ROM

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Features and Specs
General
LCD Screen Size (inches)
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2.7
Viewfinder
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0.3" Color LCD
Total Pixel Count
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2400000
Effective Pixel Count for Video
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1920000
High-Definition
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No
Aspect Ratio
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4:3, 16:9
Manual Focusing
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Yes
Filter Diameter
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37mm
Optical Zoom
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10 x
Digital Zoom
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70 x
Night Imaging
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MagicPix
Image Stabilization
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Optical (O.I.S.)
Built-in Video Light
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Yes
Built-in Memory
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---
Max Recording Time w/ Included Battery
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100
Digital Still Camera Features
Effective Pixel Count for Stills
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---
Built-in Photo Flash
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Yes
Still Image Aspect Ratios
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4:3, 16:9
Inputs and Outputs
USB Port
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HDMI Output
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Mic Input
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Yes
Dimensions
Weight With Battery (ounces)
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---
Width (inches)
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3-1/16
Height (inches)
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3-1/2
Depth (inches)
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5-3/4
Warranty
Parts Warranty
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1 Year/ 6 Months CCD
Labor Warranty
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90 Days
Image Sensor Warranty
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Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • DVD camcorder with attached hand strap
  • Wireless remote control (N2QAEC000019)
  • CR2025 Lithium battery
  • Shoulder strap
  • CGA-DU12 Lithium-Ion battery (7.2 V/1150 mAh)
  • PV-DAC14D AC adapter/battery charger
  • Blank DVD-RAM disc in jewel case (LM-AF30U)
  • 6.75' DC cord
  • 5.25' AC cord
  • 5' A/V cable (with proprietary camera connector on one end and stereo audio RCA/composite video and S-Video plugs on the other end)
  • 5' USB cable (with male USB-A connector on one end and a Mini-B USB Version 2.0 connector on the other end)
  • CD-ROM (LSFT0643-2B) DVD Palmcorder software for Windows and Mac
  • Operating Instructions (English with Spanish quick use guide)
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Product Registration Card
  • Caution sheet about connecting the USB cable to the computer
  • Sheet on Panasonic blank DVDs
  • Card for 2 free issues of Videomaker magazine

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Features
Computer Information
Warranty Information

Features

3CCD System: The Panasonic VDR-D300 DVD camcorder uses a 3CCD system, with three distinct 1/6" CCDs for processing. A 3CCD system results in no light loss, giving you vivid color, fine detail and rich gradation. The camcorder has the following number of pixels:

  • Total Pixels: 800,000 total pixels x 3 CCDs for a total of 2,400,000 pixels (2.4 Megapixels)
  • Effective Pixels:
    • Moving Pictures:
      • 640,000 effective pixels x 3 CCDs (1.92 Megapixels) for 4:3 images
      • 540,000 effective pixels x 3 CCDs (1.62 Megapixels) for 16:9 widescreen images
    • Still Images:
      • 710,000 effective pixels x 3 CCDs (2.13 megapixels) for 4:3 images
      • 540,000 effective pixels x 3 CCDs (1.62 Megapixels total) for 16:9 widescreen images

LCD Monitor: This unit features a 2.7" color LCD monitor (with approximately 123,000 pixels) for framing moving and still images while recording and for viewing recorded movies and digital still images. It can swing out 90°, and while opened, the monitor can rotate 270° (180° forward and 90° backward). When rotated a full 180°, the image is inverted so it can be properly viewed from the front of the camcorder. The color viewfinder also turns on when the LCD is facing forward. For best viewing, the color and brightness of the monitor can be adjusted.

Color Viewfinder: In addition to the 2.7" color LCD monitor, the camera also features a 0.3" color LCD viewfinder (with approximately 123,000 pixels).

Optics: The camcorder is equipped with a superior-quality Leica Dicomar lens, which was specifically designed for digital video cameras. Drawing on Leica's renowned optical technology, this advanced lens captures clear, crisp, finely nuanced images with outstanding detail and contrast. The multi-coating applied during manufacturing minimizes flare and ghosts.

Recording Media (Video): The VDR-D300 can record video on 8cm (3") single-sided or double-sided DVDs. The camcorder is compatible with the following types of blank DVDs:

  • DVD-R: DVD-R for General Ver.2.0--One-time recording disc
  • DVD-RW: DVD-RW Ver.1.1/2x Speed (2x/1x)--Rewritable when recorded in DVD Video Recording (VR) format, or One-time recording when recorded in DVD Video format.
  • DVD-RAM: DVD-RAM Ver.2.1--Rewritable when recorded in DVD Video Recording (VR) format.

Record Speed/Playback Time: The VDR-D300 records in Variable Bit Rate (VBR), meaning the bit rate varies depending upon the subject being recorded. If a subject with sharp movements is recorded, the recording time is reduced. You can record video in three speeds, XP (9 Mbps), SP (5 Mbps), and LP (2.5 Mbps). XP has the best image quality, and gives you approximately 18 minutes of recording time on a single side of a 8cm recordable DVD. SP gives you standard quality recording and approximately 37 minutes recording time. For the maximum recording time, you can choose LP, which gives you approximately 75 minutes per single side, but sacrifices the video quality.

Recording Media (Still Images): In addition to recording video on blank DVDs, the VDR-D300 can record digital still images on SD Memory Cards. The camcorder can accept SD cards in 8 MB, 16 MB, 32 MB, 64 MB, 128 MB, 256 MB, 512 MB, 1 GB and 2 GB sizes. It can also accept miniSD cards with adapter in 32MB, 64 MB, 128 MB, 256 MB, and 512 MB sizes. Digital still images can be recorded at 1920 x 1080 (16:9), 2048 x 1512 (4:3), 1280 x 960 (4:3), 620 x 480 (4:3) pixels, with two selectable picture quality compression settings: high and normal.

Memory Card Capacity: The number of recordable images on SD cards:

Picture Size Picture Quality SD Card Size
8MB 16MB 32MB 64MB 128MB 256MB 512MB 1GB 2GB
1920 x 1080
(16:9)
High 4 10 24 51 98 210 410 820 1680
Normal 7 17 39 81 155 330 650 1290 2630
2048 x 1512
(4:3)
High 3 8 18 39 75 160 320 630 1290
Normal 5 13 29 61 120 250 490 990 2010
1280 x 960
(4:3)
High 8 21 47 97 185 390 780 1550 3160
Normal 14 34 75 155 300 620 1230 2470 5030
620 x 480
(4:3)
High 45 100 220 440 880 1760 3520 7040 14080
Normal 95 200 440 880 1760 3520 7040 14080 28160

Finalizing Discs: In order to play back a DVD-R or DVD-RW (recorded in Video format) on other devices, such as a DVD player, you must first finalize the disc. Dual-sided discs must be finalized on both sides. Finalized DVD-RW discs can be un-finalized so it can be recorded on again. Note: DVD-RAM discs and DVD-RW (recorded in VR format) can only be played on devices that specifically support those formats.

Editing/Deleting Scenes: On DVD-RAM and DVD-RW (VR format) discs, you can delete unwanted scenes one at a time, or multiple scenes from a thumbnail display. Scenes can also be divided and combined. You can create playlists of your favorite recorded scenes. Up to 99 playlists or up to 999 playlist scenes can be created on a single side of a disc. Note: Scenes on DVD-R or DVD-RW (Video format) cannot be deleted or edited.

Deleting/Locking Pictures: Still picture files on the SD card can be deleted one at a time, or multiple images from a thumbnail display. For images you wish to protect from accidental erasure, you can lock the selected files. All images, including locked images, are deleted if the card is reformatted.

DPOF Setting: You can write the data of still pictures to be printed and the number of copies of each onto the SD card. The camcorder uses Digital Print Order Format (DPOF), so you can take the SD card to a photo printing shop or device that supports DPOF to make prints.

PictBridge: You can connect the camcorder directly to a PictBridge-compatible printer via the supplied USB cable. This allows you to make prints of your still photos without having to download them first to a computer.

Optical Image Stabilizer (O.I.S.): The Optical Image Stabilizer (O.I.S.) minimizes hand shake that can occur with handheld shots. Since the system is optical, there is no degradation in the quality of the image. The Mega O.I.S. system automatically doubles the corrective power when you're shooting still images.

Focus: The VDR-D300 lets you focus automatically or focus on your subject manually using the joystick control. The Auto/Manual focus button is located on the left side of the camcorder under the LCD monitor flap.

Zoom Function: The optical zoom of the lens magnifies the subject up to 10 times. The digital zoom function is useful when you want to record close-up shots of subjects located beyond the optical zoom range. With the Digital Zoom Function, you can select a total magnification of 25x or 700x. Note: The Digital Zoom function is not available when shooting digital still images.

Soft Skin: When this function detects skin tones, it softens the focus in that area. This helps make wrinkles and lines appear less noticeable and preserves resolution in other areas of the picture. If there is anything in the background that's the same color, it will also be softened.

High Speed Shutter: The high speed shutter feature gives the ability to record fast-moving objects for improved playback. You can manually select any of the following shutter speeds for video: 1/60, 1/100, 1/120, 1/180, 1/250, 1/350, 1/500, 1/750, 1/1000, 1/1500, 1/2000, 1/3000, 1/4000, or 1/8000. When taking digital still photos, you can choose 1/30, 1/60, 1/100, 1/120, 1/180, 1/250, 1/350, 1/500, 1/750, 1/1000, 1/1500/, or 1/2000. If you choose not to manually select the shutter speed, the camcorder can automatically a shutter speed for you.

Manual Iris Adjustment: You can manually select one of the following iris settings: Close, F16, F14, F11, F9.6, F8, F6.8, F5.6, F4.8, F4.0, F3.4, F2.8, F2.4, F2.0, Open, 0dB, 3dB, 6dB, 9dB, 12dB, 15dB, and 18dB. You can also choose to set the exposure (iris and shutter speed) automatically.

Auto/Manual White Balance Adjustment: When the white balance is correct, all other colors will be accurately reproduced. White Balance Settings include: Auto, Indoor Mode (shooting under incandescent or halogen lighting), Outdoor Mode, and Manual mode.

Backlight Compensation: This feature prevents a recording subject that is in front of a light source from looking too dark.

Aspect Ratio: The camcorder allows you to record video and still images that are compatible with either wide-screen TVs (16:9) or regular TVs (4:3).

Auto Ground-Directional Standby (AGS): This function prevents unnecessary recording when you forget to pause recording and walk with the unit tilted upside down while recording continues. If the unit continues to be tilted upside down from a normal horizontal position while recording on a disc, it is automatically set to recording pause.

Power Save: When the power save mode is on, after 5 minutes without any camcorder operation, the power turns off. If the camcorder is connected via USB to a computer, or the AC adapter is in use, the power save function is disabled.

USB Port: The VDR-D300 has a Mini USB Ver.2.0 port for transferring digital video to your computer. The USB port is 2.0 High Speed compatible. See below for computer compatibility information.

A/V Output: This unit has a proprietary audio/video output for use with the supplied A/V cable. The A/V cable has stereo audio, S-Video and composite video plugs.

Self-Timer Recording: You can record yourself in digital still images when using the self-timer feature. The self-timer is set to 10 seconds.

Scene Modes: You may select automatic exposures under specific recording situations. There are five Scene Mode choices:

  • Sports Mode: For scenes involving quick movements, such as sports scenes
  • Portrait Mode: The camcorder will focus on the main subject of the image and leaves the background slightly out of focus
  • Low Light Mode: Preserves the mood of dim light settings without altering picture brightness
  • Spotlight Mode: Neutralizes the additional brightness created by a spot light
  • Surf and Snow Mode: Compensates for excessive illumination from sun glare to produce a clear image

Fade In/Out Functions: The fade in/out functions bring images and sounds in and out from a black or white screen.

Zoom Microphone: The microphone zooms in along with the picture, enabling you to pinpoint distant sound emanating from your subject.

Wind Noise: When recording in windy conditions, you can reduce the audio distortion caused by the wind hitting the microphone by engaging the Wind Noise Reduction function.

MagicPix: MagicPix allows you to shoot full color video in very low light. 0 Lux MagicPix allows you to shoot in total darkness by using the light from the LCD screen (which turns white in this mode) to illuminate a subject up to approximately 3.9 feet. Because it uses a slow shutter speed, motion jitter will be much greater, so use of a tripod is recommended. Minimum illumination is 12 lux for normal recording, and 1 lux in MagicPix mode.

AC Adapter/Battery Charger: The supplied PV-DAC14D AC adapter allows you to operate the camcorder on AC current and doubles as a battery charger.

Battery Performance: The supplied CGR-DU12 Lithium Ion rechargeable battery pack (7.2 volts/1150 mAh) has the following maximum continuously recording and charging times:

Recording Time
(approximate)
Recording Mode Using Viewfinder Using LCD
XP 1 hour 25 minutes 1 hour 20 minutes
SP 1 hour 35 minutes 1 hour 30 minutes
LP 1 hour 40 minutes 1 hour 35 minutes
Charging Time (approximate) 2 hours 25 minutes

Computer Information

USB Connection: The VDR-D300 is equipped with a Mini USB Ver.2.0 connection. The port is USB 2.0 High Speed compatible. You can connect the camcorder to your computer via the supplied USB cable for transferring digital video and still images.

Disc Playback: Discs recorded on this unit must first be finalized, and the computer must have the proper DVD playback software installed before discs can be played.

Supplied Software: The camcorder includes CD-ROM software with the following applications:

  • DVD-RAM Driver (Windows): configures the camcorder as a drive on a computer

  • DVD-MovieAlbumSE 4.2(Windows): for playing back and editing VR format motion pictures

  • DVDfunSTUDIO 2.4 (Windows): for creating a DVD-Video disc

  • Pixe VRF Browser EX (Macintosh): for importing motion pictures recorded on disc to a computer

  • ImageMixer VCD/DVD2 (Macintosh): for creating DVD-Video and Video CD discs

Operating Environment: The minimum requirements for the Windows or Macintosh computers are as follows:

IBM PC/AT Compatible Personal Computers
Applications DVD-RAM Driver and
DVD-MovieAlbumSE 4.2
DVDfunSTUDIO 2.4
Operating System Windows 2000 Professional
Windows XP Home Edition
Windows XP Professional Edition
Windows 2000 Professional SP4
Windows XP Home Edition SP2
Windows XP Professional  Edition SP2
CPU Intel Pentium III 450 MHz or higher (1 GHz or higher recommended)
Intel Celeron 633 MHz or higher
Intel Pentium III 800 MHz or higher
RAM 128 MB or more (256 MB or more recommended) 256 MB or more (512 MB or more recommended
Display High Color (16-bit) or more
Desktop resolution of 800x600 pixels or more (1024x768 pixels or more recommended)
4MB video memory or more
High Color (16-bit) or more
Desktop resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels or more
4MB video memory or more
Free Hard Disk Space 200 MB or more 200 MB or more
Necessary Software DirectX 8.1 or later
Acrobat Reader 5.0 or later
DVD-RAM driver
DirectX 9.0b or later
Sound DirectSound support
Windows-compatible sound device
DirectSound support
Windows-compatible sound device
Interface --- USB 2.0 (Hi-speed)

 

Macintosh
Applications Pixe VRF Browser EX ImageMixer VCD/DVD2
Operating System Mac OS X v10.2.8, v10.3.4 to v10.3.9, v10.4.1 to v10.4.2
Mac OS X Server is not supported
CPU iMac G4, iMac G5, iBook G4, PowerBook G4, PowerMac G5, eMac, Mac mini Series with USB 2.0 port as a standard equipment, PowerPC G4 or above
Memory 256 MB or more (512 MB or more recommended)
Graphics Minimum of 1024 x 768 pixels, 32,000 colors (Full color recommended)
(Will not run correctly with a screen smaller than 1024 x 768 or with less than 256 colors)
Free Hard Disk Space ---

Disk space required for installation: approx 200 MB

  • 1 GB or more space in Startup Disk is required when operating application.

  • When creating a disc or disc image, you will need three times as much space as the size of the disc itself

Other --- Pre-installed QuickTime 6 or later
Compatible Formats DVD Video Recording Format (DVD-RAM/DVD-RW)
DVD-Video format (DVD-RW/DVD-R)
---
Save Formats MPEG2 Motion Pictures: Program stream and Elementary Stream
Still Pictures: PICT Format
---
Reading Method Direct Reading from DVD media
Folder Reading
---

Warranty Information

Warranty: The warranty on the VDR-D300 is 90 days labor and 1 year parts, except for the CCD image sensor, which is 6 months.

 
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